Former derivatives trader Andy Frankenberger won his second gold bracelet last week at the World Series of Poker. In honor of his win, here’s a look at some of Wall Street’s top performers over the years at the WSOP.
1. Erik Seidel
Former stockbroker Erik Seidel has enjoyed more success at the WSOP than any other ex-Wall Streeter. His first appearance at the WSOP came in 1988, a year after the stock market crash that cost him his job in the financial industry. He made an instant impact with a second-place finish in the Main Event, a performance immortalized in the film Rounders. With the situation on Wall Street as bad as it was, the $280,000 Seidel won for being the runner-up was all the encouragement he needed to go pro.
Since then Seidel has built a WSOP resume any poker player would be happy to have. Four bracelets in the 1990s and another four in the 2000s have given him eight total, ranking him among the game’s all-time greats. He has cashed an incredible 72 times in open events for a total of $4,540,562 in WSOP earnings, which account for more than a quarter of the $16 million he’s won in poker tournaments during his 24-year career.
2. Alan Goehring
After a successful Wall Street career as a junk bond trader, Alan Goehring took up poker as a hobby in the late 1990s. He made the final table of a WSOP preliminary event in 1997, earning 20 times his buy-in for a third-place finish. He cashed in another event in 1998, but the 1999 Main Event was where he really made his mark.
That tournament was the largest in the Series’ history, drawing 393 players. The winner was set to win $1,000,000 – the same prize as every winner since 1991 – but due to the size of the prize pool, the runner-up would earn nearly as much at $768,625. That ended up being Goehring’s prize when he fell in heads-up play to Irishman Noel Furlong after outlasting a final table that included 1996 champ Huck Seed and 1988 runner-up Erik Seidel.
Goehring hasn’t duplicated his success at the WSOP since, but he won the first $25,000 WPT Championship and, later, the LA Poker Classic. All told his career tournament earnings top $5.22 million.
3. Andy Frankenberger
Before he began running over high-stakes poker tournaments, Andy Frankenberger worked for JP Morgan and BNP Paribas, France’s largest bank. After 14 years in the equities trading business he decided it was time for a change and he had a go at poker. After some minor successes and one win at the Venetian in Vegas, he won the Legends of Poker main event to open the new season of the World Poker Tour. More success led to the WPT Player of the Year award, and then last summer a WSOP bracelet.
This summer’s win in the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’em Championship was probably the most satisfying of them all for the 39-year-old, though. After outlasting a final table that included Hoyt Corkins, Shaun Deeb, and Ali Eslami, Frankenberger faced off against eight-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey. While most of the media got busy writing their “IVEY WINS NUMBER NINE” headlines, Frankenberger buckled down and beat the most accomplished poker player of a generation.
In just two and a half years of tournament poker Andy Frankenberger has now won more than $2.5 million, with nearly half that number coming at the WSOP.
4. Steve Begleiter
Before the financial meltdown of 2008, Steve Begleiter was the head of corporate strategy for Wall Street stalwart Bear Stearns. When that company proved to be just big enough to fail, Begleiter was without a job for the first time in more than two decades. He bounced back quickly in his career field, but he also won his local home-game poker league – and that gave him a ticket to the 2009 WSOP Main Event.
Begleiter put his skills from decades on Wall Street to good use in the big tournament, landing himself at the final table with the third-largest chip stack when it went on hiatus for four months. As one of the November Nine, Begleiter enjoyed some time in the spotlight and made a few deep runs in other poker tournaments while he waited to go back to Vegas.
Once he got there he had a huge cheering section – and a big chance to make a run at the title when he got all-in with pocket queens against amateur Darvin Moon. But Moon hit an ace on the river, making Begleiter the sixth-place finisher. The $1.58 million was about seven million dollars shy of what he’d hoped for, but it still remains one of the biggest scores in WSOP history for a financial industry worker.
5. Bill Chen
Bill Chen might be the smartest person ever to enjoy great success at the WSOP. As an undergraduate he triple-majored in Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science; later he earned his Ph.D. in Math from the University of California at Berkeley and began working for Susquehanna International Group as a quantitative analyst. No wonder, then, that his contribution to poker literature was a little light reading called The Mathematics of Poker.
Chen turned all that brain power into bling at the 2006 WSOP, when he won two events – one in limit hold’em, the other in shorthanded no-limit hold’em – in the span of two weeks. He nearly grabbed a third bracelet in 2010 but finished second to Phil Ivey in the $3,000 HORSE event, and then finished fourth in the 2011 WSOP Triple Chance No Limit Hold’em. All-time Chen has cashed in 24 WSOP events for just over $1.23 million.